Save it for Later

Blog No. 95

Obligatory comment on 95. If my blog were a person we’d go celebrate with the few blog friends it has left, and probably a bit too much champagne. But it’s a blog, so I keep trucking along. Much like TV shows. (Transition!) I am a re-watcher. If there is a show, movie, book, etc, that I like, I enjoy revisiting it every so often. One of the things I notice that things happen was sooner than I expect them to. That may be confusing, so I’ll try to be clear in my explanation. I remember events happening on the show (like a character leaving, or joining, or relationships and junk) but I think that they happen a few seasons after they actually happen. I underestimate the amount of time the writers took before they had a major event happen to the characters.

So what? Good question. As a watcher, it means that I get to have a little surprise and the show becomes that much more enjoyable the second (or fifth) time around. As a writer, it’s a reminder that I should use that “great” idea I came up with now. I shouldn’t save it for some uncertain future time. Chances are (if I’m any good at all) that I’ll come up with something new and maybe even better by then. I’m still inexperienced in writing longer works and it’s very tempting to save ideas. I worry that I’ll use up everything in the first chapter and it will descend into dreary, bland prose by the time I hit chapter five. But if my years of not writing (and year and a half of dedicated writing) has taught me anything, it’s that there is always another idea, and you will always some up with something better after you fought and struggled to get it written in the first place. (Which is frustrating in itself).

I’m finding, now that Christian and I are in the editing phase of our collection, that the rewriting issue is becoming a real thing. I’m going back and editing stories I wrote in February. The temptation to start from scratch is very distracting to the end goal. It becomes a cyclical, crazed, process of writing, getting better from having written more, rewriting, getting better still, rewriting, and so on. I’ve hear it said a few times that writing is never done. The author just ran out of time and had to call it finished. That’s starting to come to life for me. I’ve only gotten through the second draft of some of these stories and the urge to scrap the story and start fresh is oppressive. The only thing that’s keeping me going is the amount of work left to do on the collection and the numerous other projects on the go. Maybe overwhelming the need to rewrite with writing is the answer. But then I run the risk of burning out.

Or is that another symptom of wanting to hold back. If I write those things now, what will I have to write later? I don’t stop coming up with ideas, and I have plenty of ideas I haven’t really explored yet. It could be that I’m afraid I can’t cut it. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have doubts. I’ve said it before, the stories in my head are always better than the stuff I end up writing. Though I’ve heard other authors say similar things. Playing with the inadequacies of the language is part of the art of writing, I think. It’s easy to take the path worn by better authors, but it’s not as rewarding. Besides, how am I supposed to get any better taking the easy way? Oh no! My parents were right after all.

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